Bellbottoms. Ninja Turtles. Mirrored sunglasses. Some trends are bound to repeat themselves.
Longtime co-op members may recall our big push in the ‘80s and ‘90s to install load management devices (see Obsolete load management switches ok to remove). At that time, 56¢ of every dollar Tideland paid for wholesale power purchases went towards peak demand costs incurred during a single hour in the billing month. Our “Beat the Peak” program was highly successful and resulted in significant savings for Tideland members.
Then our wholesale power contracts dramatically changed. Air conditioning credits were eliminated in 1998 and water heater credits ended in 2006. With no financial incentive to beat the peak, Tideland’s load management program officially folded.
A dozen years later what was old is new again. In the near future, Tideland will once again have an opportunity to realize power cost savings through a new focus on beating the peak. Anticipating those changes, we’re rolling out load management iniatives but in a whole new way.
With nearly two years of island testing under our belt, we’re bringing the smart thermostat program to the mainland.
If you have followed our Ocracoke microgrid pilot project (PDF), you know that a key component of that program has been the use of member-owned smart thermostats to reduce peak load on the island. Our decision to utilize a smart thermostat rather than a hard wired control device like those used in the ‘80s and ‘90s was based on a desire to make sure today’s members can opt out of a load control event if the timing conflicts with your household needs.
In its previous iteration, load management devices cycled off air conditioning compressors. Using today’s wifi enabled smart thermostats like the ecobee® and Nest®, the co-op can raise or lower the thermostat by three degrees during a control event. If for any reason you want to exit the control event you can simply override the thermostat setting. This version of load management also has the additional perk of advance notification before a control event occurs if you sign up for email alerts.
With nearly two years of island testing under our belt, we’re bringing the smart thermostat program to the mainland. New ecobee®3 lite thermostats are available at no cost to co-op members who have wifi and are installing a new heat pump. If you prefer the more advanced ecobee®4 with Alexa you pay just $80 for the upgrade. If you already have a Nest® or ecobee® thermostat and would like to enroll in the load management program we’ll issue you a $50 electric bill credit. All program participants receive a $2 monthly bill credit.